Gung-Ho About Glycerin

So I was trying to figure out what made glycerin so tolerable in high humidity, and becoming rather exasperated with hygrometrics as a whole, at least as presented by wikipedia. All anybody seems to care about is the perception of hot and cold; the skin is assumed to be a constant, integral detector, not the fragile, temperamental thing we know it to be. That's when I started typing things like "glycerin is evil," "glycerin skin destruction," etc., in the search box. And surprisingly, some (light) criticism of the substance from the health and beauty perspective does exist.

Leaping out of that page is the relevant fact: glycerin only draws water from the air at 70% relative humidity. (Some say 65%, I don't think that's a hard number.) But if you read the material from last post, you will recall that we can't feel relative humidity. I saw that at the lake, enjoying the atmosphere near the water, watching my kids' cotton candy liquefy.

All we really care about, suffering without air conditioning, is the dew point. It's all too confusing for me to explain, but I think that as shavers we can take a shortcut right there and just say, glycerin, once incorporated into the stratum corneum, effectively lowers the dew point on that patch of skin, for the obvious reason that water vapor will be absorbed before it condenses. Similar to how a Jamaican perspires more without breaking a sweat, because he has a greater number of sweat glands. I personally have a parallel sedentary ability, to steam up car windows from great distance in the wintertime. So I think having moist skin is a two-way street, in low atmospheric humidity.

More presently, the reason I've been tolerating glycerin so well lately, even beyond the witch hazel preparations, is because the atmosphere is supplying water that otherwise would have had to come from inside my living skin (which could otherwise cause the explosive pain that I'm usually bitching about). Mystery solved.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

And so I'm going to use up as much of that expensive bottle of vegetable glycerin as I can in the next month or so, before the expected autumn skin hardening. I've read that it's good on scars and acne, so I dotted my skin last night before bed. I couldn't absorb the substance, but the skin surface stayed wet in those spots... yeah, I can see how that would help healing. Water: elixir of life. One zit that I had already popped suppurated some deeper pus. Nice!

This morning I broke out my Rimei, Pre de Provence, and Humphreys (in the oil cleansing role), with a new Racer blade (not very sharp) and pumpkin juice, of course, for a deeply excavating shave. I splashed with Witch Hazel, U.S.P., and passed the cotton ball test, without too much late morning ooze.

Disclaimer: I might be cheating on the cotton ball test, since I use the same old cotton ball, tossed behind my soap bowl... more of a cotton "wad" at this point. It's been wiped clean of free lint, I think.

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